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Lasers might be the cure for brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Press Release   •  Nov 04, 2013 07:00 GMT

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, together with researchers at the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology, have made a discovery that may lead to the curing of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the so called mad cow disease) through photo therapy.

The researchers discovery, which was published yesterday in the journal Nature Photonics, is that it is possible to distinguish aggregations of the proteins, believed to cause the diseases, from the the well-functioning proteins in the body by using multi-photon laser technique.

“Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now. This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light”, says Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of Technology.

If the protein aggregates are removed, the disease is in principle cured. The problem until now has been to detect and remove the aggregates.

The researchers now harbor high hopes that photo acoustic therapy, which is already used for tomography, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins. Today amyloid protein aggregates are treated with chemicals, both for detection as well as removal. These chemicals are highly toxic and harmful for those treated.

With multi photon laser the chemical treatment would be unnecessary. Nor would surgery be necessary for removing of aggregates. Due to this discovery it might, thus, be possible to remove the harmful protein without touching the surrounding tissue.

These diseases arise when amyloid beta protein are aggregated in large doses so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes.

Different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, but they generally have the same structure. This makes them different from the well-functioning proteins in the body, which can now be shown by multi photon laser technique.

Scientific article:

Multiphoton absorption in amyloid protein fibres

For more information, please contact:

Piotr Hanczyc, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 720 08 03 14,

Bengt Nordén, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 730 34 64 41,

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and offers education in technology, science, shipping and architecture with a sustainable future as its global vision. Chalmers is well-known for providing an effective environment for innovation and has eight priority areas of international significance – Built Environment, Energy, Information and Communication Technology, Life Science, Materials Science, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Production, and Transportation. Situated in Gothenburg, Sweden, Chalmers has 11,000 full-time students and 2,500 employees.

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